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Buffalo man arrested in 'horrific and senseless' fatal slashing in Tonawanda

A 39-year-old Buffalo man accused of killing an acquaintance by slashing his throat over the weekend near the Tonawanda-Buffalo border was caught Tuesday near the downtown bus station, authorities said Wednesday.

District Attorney John J. Flynn and acting Town of Tonawanda Police Chief James Stauffiger on Wednesday described a violent scene. They said Jevon Gaiter sliced Bottita’s neck and then Bottita staggered away to get help at a nearby corner store.

It was “a very horrific and senseless alleged act of violence that culminated in the death of another human being,” said Flynn, who was joined Wednesday by Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger.

Flynn and Stauffiger, however, released few details about what led investigators to Gaiter.

Gaiter is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Mark Bottita, 59, who lived near the suspect and knew him, authorities said at a news conference.

Flynn and Stauffiger declined to reveal what prompted the altercation and would not say what evidence ties Gaiter to the killing.

Jevon Gaiter. (Photo courtesy of the Erie County District Attorney's Office)

Authorities say Bottita was attacked around 1 a.m. Saturday near Vulcan and Tonawanda streets in Tonawanda’s Old Town neighborhood, just north of Riverside Park.

Bottita managed to make it to the Vulcan Mini Mart, 90 Vulcan St., where he was a regular customer. Owner Alex Alhamri previously told The Buffalo News that Bottita was bleeding profusely when he asked for help before collapsing outside the store.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Flynn and Stauffiger wouldn’t say how investigators closed in on Gaiter as a suspect nor would they describe the relationship between the two men. But town police soon put out an alert to other local police agencies to be on the lookout for Gaiter, whose nickname is "Animal."

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police nabbed him between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday near the bus terminal on Ellicott Street.

Flynn said he didn’t know whether Gaiter was trying to flee the area.

Stauffiger wouldn’t say whether police found the murder weapon. He said Bottita’s sister, who also lives in the town, was notified of his death.

Gaiter was arraigned Wednesday before Town Justice Daniel T. Cavarello and is scheduled to return to court at 11 a.m. Monday for a felony hearing. He remains held without bail.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison.

Gaiter was arrested in February 2018 with three others for a knifepoint robbery in downtown Buffalo, according to Buffalo News archives. The disposition of that case wasn’t immediately available, and Flynn said he couldn’t comment on whether Gaiter has a criminal record.

This was the second of two killings in the Town of Tonawanda in the past month.

Stauffiger and Flynn did not provide any new details on the investigation into the Aug. 27 fatal shooting of Danielle Cretacci inside a home in the town. Cretacci was killed and her two young daughters also were shot but survived.

Authorities say they have devoted considerable resources investigating the triple shooting. The Cretacci slaying remains unsolved after nearly a month, with Stauffiger calling the Cretacci homicide a "unique situation."

He said the town is adding $2,500 to the $5,000 Crime Stoppers Buffalo reward offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter, bringing the total to $7,500.

Crime Stoppers asked anyone with information to call 867-6161 or download the free Crime Stoppers Buffalo app called "Buffalo Tips" from the Apple or Android stores.

 

Tonawanda mini mart owner denies link to fatal stabbing

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